United States passports are granted only to the citizens of the United States, by the US Department of State. A US citizen who seeks to travel abroad must hold a valid US passport and this US passport is also an international identification document.
Applying for a US Passport
If you are a native US citizen or if you had become a naturalized US citizen, you may file Form DS-11, Application for a US passport, to get a US passport. You will have to complete the application by hand and submit your application along with the required fees to the acceptance agent. You will have to submit few documents along with your application to prove that you are a US citizen. You may submit copies of your birth certificate, if you were born in the United States or your certificate of naturalization, if you had obtained US citizenship through naturalization. You will also be required to present copies of your driver’s license, government ID or your military ID. You must pay the current passport fees and submit a passport style photograph, along with your passport application.
Lost or Stolen Passport
You will have to report using Form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport, if you had misplaced your US passport or if it was stolen. Similarly to replace your passport, you will have to go to a passport agency and submit the completely filled Form DS-11, Application for a US Passport and Form DS-64, Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport. Your lost passport will be considered invalid, as soon as you report the loss of your passport. You will then be granted a new passport.
Passports for Children
If you wish to travel abroad with your child below age 16, you will have to obtain a US passport for your child. To apply for a US passport for your child, you and your spouse along with your child must go in person to the passport agency and file Form DS-11, Application for a US Passport. Evidence of US citizenship and relationship must be submitted along with the application for a US passport.
US Passport Renewal
You may renew your US passport by mail, if your passport is in good condition and if you can send it by mail along with your passport renewal application. You can apply for passport renewal by mail if you had obtained your passport when you were a minor or if your passport is more than 15 years old. If you are applying for renewal for some other reason, you will have to go in person to file an application to renew your US passport.